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Old 28-07-2015, 11:55   #136
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Re: When we shouldn't encourage people to "just go"

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Originally Posted by Snore View Post
This is my pet peeve about CF. No one should EVER encourage someone to leave.

Think about it--- a perfect stranger (we have never met the person) is so unsure of themselves they ask an anonymous forum to validate their skills.

WTF?!?!?? While I am light on offshore experience, like many others on this forum I have a good history with the sea. If I have to ask someone if I am ready, I am not ready. This mindset has worked well for the past 60 years of interesting adventuress do close calls.


Will the forum be there when the 8, 10, 15 or higher rollers kick up some muck that fouls the filters? Or at 3 am to set a reef in the dark?? No it will be the poster and that person alone.

Only the person skipper can determine if he is ready. We can, and should, ask questions to help the person but telling people to "go for it" is reckless----


what was that guys name??? SCOOBERT?


Sent from my iPhone- please forgive autocorrect errors.
I need to agree. Go for it can be reckless. Proceeding toward the dream isn't, going off half assed is. The sea isn't forgiving, it has had my ass in a pucker more than once since she is unpredictable but a hell of a lot of fun.
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Old 28-07-2015, 12:02   #137
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Re: When we shouldn't encourage people to "just go"

I compare the skills needed for sailing comparable to those needed to play a musical instrument. The proper way to develop competency is to learn a skill set and practice. The skill set you learn increases and evolves over time and allows one to master higher levels of musicality that would not be possible without them. An example would be that a person of minimal talents can learn to plays chords on a guitar. He will never be able to play a Bach Partita without advancing his skill set and experience. So ,for example, when FamilyVan states that sailing a Lazer or Shark were what "real" sailors have been sailing since childhood, I believe he means that the important skill sets needed to properly and efficiently learn to sail were more easily developed and honed on a smaller boat than a 40' Beneteau. I would agree. The best sailors I have known over the last 30 years have started as or have been small boat sailors. They know how to sail a boat on all points of sail, to keep it moving efficiently in variable conditions, to reef when needed and to balance the movement of their boat with the rhythm of the seas. But, the majority of "sailors" we have encountered--especially in the Bahamas and Caribbean were glorified motor sailors whose concept of sailing was an unfurled jib and the iron Jenny who at the least hint of motor problems were thrown into a chaotic panic when the thought of actually having to sail their boats was imminent. I believe this is because they never learned the skill set needed to sail and bought a big boat with a big motor that would, in theory, save them from their incompetence. The saddest example of this we encountered after crossing the White and Yellow Bank from Nassau to the Exumas and en route South. We heard a call for help on the VHF. The caller was a man in his late seventies who sailed with a gaggle of "cruisers" from Miami. He lost engine power on his 45 foot ketch and was anchored in the middle of the bank. As he frantically called, his fellow cruisers gave him advice but none offered to return to help although they were less than a mile away. When someone suggested he raise his sails and head for Highbourne Cay, he said he didn't know how and if he did, he couldn't do it by himself. And, less than 20 miles from Highbourne Cay, there was a marina full of power boats--none of which offered to help. As we slipped South, the transmission began to break up and finally there was silence. The lesson is clear and needs no explanation. Skills are needed to sail. They are best honed on easily managed vessels and are then easily transferable to larger boats. Can you learn on a 40 foot Beneteau? Sure. But you won't build your skill set as quickly as you would on a Lazer or a Shark. Good luck and good sailing.
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Old 28-07-2015, 12:41   #138
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Re: When we shouldn't encourage people to "just go"

A couple thoughts on newbies sailing --

First, I learned navigation in terms of dead reckoning and using a sextant in the early 80's from some old cruising sailors we met down in south Texas. Before GPS became widely available, there were actually far less people considering taking up a seafaring life because the uncertainty factor was just too big for most people. Somehow the idea of a sextant, walker log, and paper charts didn't appeal to a lot of folks. The idea of sailing for weeks (or months) without knowing where you were (other than finding it yourself via your sextant) didn't appeal to most. Didn't then and doesn't now.

Today, I'd be willing to bet that many cruisers (including a lot of CF members) who've sailed thousands of open ocean miles would stop dead in their tracks and not leave port if they had to go out without their favorites of GPS, radar, AIS, SSB w/Pactor for grib files, weatherfax, sat phone...or some variation of enabling technologies from basic depth sounders and engines to roller furling and electric winches. And that's not even getting into the comfort factors that used to strip down the number of people willing to set off (we now have, if we want, refrig, air conditioning, watermakers, generators to enable life just like at home...). Many, if not most, of today's cruisers would just stay in port.

Given the above, it "used to be" that one had to be pretty motivated to go cruising. With that motivation comes a bit of energy and drive -- a willingness to learn as much as possible to make the dream happen -- and a knowledge to stay alive you have to know how to do a lot of different things. But today's bottom line is that technology makes cruising pretty attainable no matter who you are or how little experience you really have. If it's navigation, strength, or comfort, tech has you covered. As we all know, basic sailing in good weather on a cruising boat isn't as difficult as basic sailing in a dingy. So, a couple hours of lessons and the average Joe can feel like he--and his well equipped techno-boat--are ready to go world cruising.

And--with all the technology enabled sailors out there -- you're going to find lots of newbies with questions here on CF. Technology-enabled cruising is more or less a mainstream activity today so, of course, there are loads of newbies and questions.

My husband and I began our little cruising dream in 1981. We were fortunate to learn how to sail in small boats in the 80's and had already done a fair bit of wilderness canoeing, backcountry skiing, and climbing before then so already had quite a bit of orienteering and survival experiences under our belts. No cruising experience we've had has come close to the endurance, skill, and knowledge required on many of our wilderness canoe trips. We cruise now on a fairly large vessel, a 30 ton schooner, 69ft sparred length. Not much phases this big heavy boat. Whenever conditions are beyond the usual, though, it is small boat (dingy sailing) and believe it or not, whitewater canoe experience that I return to for my "how to get through this" knowledge and skills that will help me (and my husband says the same of his experiences) safely sail through heavy weather and challenging sea conditions. Dinghy sailing is an amazingly useful experience for all sailors. Don't let a soul tell you otherwise. If you've never done it -- get out there and do so because no matter which little boat you choose, as long as you get sailing experience that is challenging to that little boat, you will improve your sailing skills and be able to apply them to your cruising boat.

It is rare for a cruiser to have minutes (much less hours or days) of experience sailing in heavy weather sufficient to challenge their cruising boat. OTOH, take your sailing dingy out there in anything from 15 kts to 30 kts of wind and you've got to be quick and clever with your sailing to keep the stick up and the dagger board down. Start racing that dingy -- see how you fare and hone your knowledge of the winds, currents, and subtle matters of weight/balance and helm. All the same goes with surfing big waves, dealing with big seas relative to boat size and so forth. Even my whitewater canoe experiences come in handy with our cruising boat--I can back-ferry my big sailboat across a raging current into a narrow marina entrance or deal with tight fairways and that ability started with my experiences with a canoe avoiding spring floodwater strainers. All that small boating helps, in some way or another, to make me a better sailor with our cruising boat today.

And that brings me to my #1 bit of advice for wannabe cruisers--I always suggest they get a dingy and start dingy sailing as soon as they can. River, lake, or farm pond. Volunteering to crew for local racers and all the rest are great experiences too and I always suggest those -- but one can be captain of one's own destiny sailing an 8ft dingy -- and can gain the confidence there to move on to getting into a cruising boat.

Someone here said that they've had lots of PM's for advice on CF but no one ever asks to go sailing with them. I'm surprised by that since I'm active on a couple forums and FB and I've had several folks send notes asking if they could tag along or sail with us. We typically do not take these newbies sailing on our cruising boat but we ALWAYS do say "come on over and we'll rig up the Tinker Traveller (our 12ft sailing dingy) and go for a sail."
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Old 28-07-2015, 13:59   #139
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Re: When we shouldn't encourage people to "just go"

Why is everyone so bent out of shape?

If they get a catamaran, they're going to be motoring all the time anyway?
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Old 28-07-2015, 14:14   #140
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Re: When we shouldn't encourage people to "just go"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Schooner Chandlery View Post
A couple thoughts on newbies sailing --

First, I learned navigation in terms of dead reckoning and using a sextant in the early 80's from some old cruising sailors we met down in south Texas. Before GPS became widely available, there were actually far less people considering taking up a seafaring life because the uncertainty factor was just too big for most people. Somehow the idea of a sextant, walker log, and paper charts didn't appeal to a lot of folks. The idea of sailing for weeks (or months) without knowing where you were (other than finding it yourself via your sextant) didn't appeal to most. Didn't then and doesn't now.

Today, I'd be willing to bet that many cruisers (including a lot of CF members) who've sailed thousands of open ocean miles would stop dead in their tracks and not leave port if they had to go out without their favorites of GPS, radar, AIS, SSB w/Pactor for grib files, weatherfax, sat phone...or some variation of enabling technologies from basic depth sounders and engines to roller furling and electric winches. And that's not even getting into the comfort factors that used to strip down the number of people willing to set off (we now have, if we want, refrig, air conditioning, watermakers, generators to enable life just like at home...). Many, if not most, of today's cruisers would just stay in port.

Given the above, it "used to be" that one had to be pretty motivated to go cruising. With that motivation comes a bit of energy and drive -- a willingness to learn as much as possible to make the dream happen -- and a knowledge to stay alive you have to know how to do a lot of different things. But today's bottom line is that technology makes cruising pretty attainable no matter who you are or how little experience you really have. If it's navigation, strength, or comfort, tech has you covered. As we all know, basic sailing in good weather on a cruising boat isn't as difficult as basic sailing in a dingy. So, a couple hours of lessons and the average Joe can feel like he--and his well equipped techno-boat--are ready to go world cruising.

And--with all the technology enabled sailors out there -- you're going to find lots of newbies with questions here on CF. Technology-enabled cruising is more or less a mainstream activity today so, of course, there are loads of newbies and questions.

My husband and I began our little cruising dream in 1981. We were fortunate to learn how to sail in small boats in the 80's and had already done a fair bit of wilderness canoeing, backcountry skiing, and climbing before then so already had quite a bit of orienteering and survival experiences under our belts. No cruising experience we've had has come close to the endurance, skill, and knowledge required on many of our wilderness canoe trips. We cruise now on a fairly large vessel, a 30 ton schooner, 69ft sparred length. Not much phases this big heavy boat. Whenever conditions are beyond the usual, though, it is small boat (dingy sailing) and believe it or not, whitewater canoe experience that I return to for my "how to get through this" knowledge and skills that will help me (and my husband says the same of his experiences) safely sail through heavy weather and challenging sea conditions. Dinghy sailing is an amazingly useful experience for all sailors. Don't let a soul tell you otherwise. If you've never done it -- get out there and do so because no matter which little boat you choose, as long as you get sailing experience that is challenging to that little boat, you will improve your sailing skills and be able to apply them to your cruising boat.

It is rare for a cruiser to have minutes (much less hours or days) of experience sailing in heavy weather sufficient to challenge their cruising boat. OTOH, take your sailing dingy out there in anything from 15 kts to 30 kts of wind and you've got to be quick and clever with your sailing to keep the stick up and the dagger board down. Start racing that dingy -- see how you fare and hone your knowledge of the winds, currents, and subtle matters of weight/balance and helm. All the same goes with surfing big waves, dealing with big seas relative to boat size and so forth. Even my whitewater canoe experiences come in handy with our cruising boat--I can back-ferry my big sailboat across a raging current into a narrow marina entrance or deal with tight fairways and that ability started with my experiences with a canoe avoiding spring floodwater strainers. All that small boating helps, in some way or another, to make me a better sailor with our cruising boat today.

And that brings me to my #1 bit of advice for wannabe cruisers--I always suggest they get a dingy and start dingy sailing as soon as they can. River, lake, or farm pond. Volunteering to crew for local racers and all the rest are great experiences too and I always suggest those -- but one can be captain of one's own destiny sailing an 8ft dingy -- and can gain the confidence there to move on to getting into a cruising boat.

Someone here said that they've had lots of PM's for advice on CF but no one ever asks to go sailing with them. I'm surprised by that since I'm active on a couple forums and FB and I've had several folks send notes asking if they could tag along or sail with us. We typically do not take these newbies sailing on our cruising boat but we ALWAYS do say "come on over and we'll rig up the Tinker Traveller (our 12ft sailing dingy) and go for a sail."

Wow! I guess the neighbors were right . . . I think I do have a few brothers and sisters out there I never met. Outstanding.
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Old 28-07-2015, 14:27   #141
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Re: When we shouldn't encourage people to "just go"

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If they get a catamaran, they're going to be motoring all the time anyway?
Not if they can't get the wrong anchor up!
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Old 28-07-2015, 14:52   #142
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Re: When we shouldn't encourage people to "just go"

Always, sometimes, never.

Well, the Internet is not a bible and IMHO people are free to advise, not advise or be ambiguous.

And the reading party is free to read and apply, read and discard or simply not read what we say.

Do not assume that people will take your advice when they come with their questions. Because as it is, people ask questions only when they have already made up their mind; now what they are after is a confirmation from someone who will happen to be of the same mind.

b.
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Old 28-07-2015, 14:55   #143
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Re: When we shouldn't encourage people to "just go"

Why do people need to post a bio? I own, I know someone, I did etc. and run on and on. A little background it great.

It seems like an ego trip rather than helpful info..
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Old 28-07-2015, 15:23   #144
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Re: When we shouldn't encourage people to "just go"

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Why do people need to post a bio? I own, I know someone, I did etc. and run on and on. A little background it great.

It seems like an ego trip rather than helpful info..
I know why I do it: because what works on one boat may not work on another, so if I present it as something I/we did that might work, the presentation makes it obvious that it came from an experience or series of experiences, rather than a book, or a bar story. My hope is that what I write provides context for the reader to evaluate the input.

I agree that it could seem like an ego trip, and I don't know how to de-fuse that aspect of it, not much help there......

Ann
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Old 28-07-2015, 15:33   #145
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Re: When we shouldn't encourage people to "just go"

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Originally Posted by Schooner Chandlery View Post




Today, I'd be willing to bet that many cruisers (including a lot of CF members) who've sailed thousands of open ocean miles would stop dead in their tracks and not leave port if they had to go out without their favorites of GPS, radar, AIS, SSB w/Pactor for grib files, weatherfax, sat phone..."
Of course. And they should stay in port because they realise what you did was inherently unsafe. That's why so many died before GPS and so few die nowadays.

That your survived was more good luck than other when you look seriously at it. Do you really think you could make a safer ocean crossing without weather information?
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Old 28-07-2015, 15:41   #146
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Re: When we shouldn't encourage people to "just go"

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I know why I do it: because what works on one boat may not work on another, so if I present it as something I/we did that might work, the presentation makes it obvious that it came from an experience or series of experiences, rather than a book, or a bar story. My hope is that what I write provides context for the reader to evaluate the input.

I agree that it could seem like an ego trip, and I don't know how to de-fuse that aspect of it, not much help there......

Ann
Ann,

I have no complaint with background that germane to the question just the horn blowing I see.

Maybe I'm being over critical since I find myself having to stifle the urge to go on and on.

Roger
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Old 28-07-2015, 15:48   #147
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Re: When we shouldn't encourage people to "just go"

I really wasn't expecting the hostility I got from a couple of people for suggesting its easier to learn sports in your youth. I don't know many 50 year olds who learn to skateboard well later in life, or play hockey well later in life. Sure, people pick up those sports later in life, and manage to get the puck in the net from time to time, but I would think it would be rare for them to excel at the sport relative to some one who learned when they were a kid and maybe even played semi pro for a while when they were in there 20's. So if this is true for hockey, why wouldn't it be for sailing?

A few reasons I can think of.

1)When you're older you're not normally as physically fit as you were at 16. Sailing (I mean real sailing, not motoring between tiki bar anchorages or lazy broad reaches in less than 10 knots of wind) is physically demanding. When I end my day after a hard day of sailing- I'm physically tired, from bouncing off white caps, tacking, trimming, fighting weather helm, hauling sails up from the hold- or what ever.

2) You're more risk averse when you're out of your twenties. In fact you are much less risk averse. You are less likely to push your boat really hard and there for never learn the boats true limits, which are far greater than many of the chickens around here believe them to be.

3) Big expensive cruising boats are expensive and people later in life can afford them, kids can't. A kid will take a 49er out in 15 knots of wind, push it to its limits, dump it a dozen times, then sail it into dock. In doing so they learn trim stability and sail handling. I don't know too many people willing to lay their cavernous 40' Benetau on its beam ends because they are curious or feel like a rush.

My first cruising boat was a mahogany ply Fireball 17, my dad saw it at the side of the road and bought it for me for $125. I would trailer it around behind the family k-car with 1 or 2 guys and or girls, launch it and head out for a couple weeks of cruising in the 30 thousand islands in Georgian bay for a week or two.

Three guys, 3 backpacks and a cooler of food in a sailboat with no ballast and a really high SA/D ratio. The boat had no motor, no gps , no electronics. We would beach it sleep in tents, or under a picnic table depending how much wine we had.

We had to navigate with charts and an orienteering compas, if we wanted to get from A to B we would obviously have to sail, even if our destination was up wind, or there was no wind or a summer thunderstorm came up AND we would have to be good enough at it that we didn't dump with a boat load of gear.

Take a modern production 45' production Catalina. You're not going to risk your quarter million dollar toy doing map and compas navigation, if the sailing gets tough, you fire up the motor, if a thunderstorm comes, you fire up the motor, if there's no wind you fire up the motor. Some people even motor if their destination is upwind.

Now take a not so fit 55 year old guy, recently retired from a career in finance and give him an expensive 40' boat with every convenience under the sun and is generally more interested in the G and Ts at the destination than the voyage itself and explain to me how he's going to be just as good a sailor as the same guy with the same Benteau who learned how to cruise and sail 40 years earlier on an albacore and has been continuously sailing and racing the whole time?

If you don't consider sailing to be a sport than we definitely have nothing in common, cruising- not necessarily, but sailing is a sport.

Back to my Fireball years, neither I, nor my parents, nor my girlfriends or my buddies considered our sailing expeditions to be any more dangerous than a canoe trip or a hiking trip. We wore our life jackets, we carried flares, we saved most of our drinking until we were safely beached, we took along lots of water in case the wind died.

So why is cruising on a modern 40' production sailboat with a 50 HP engine to get out of trouble a 6000lb keel and every safety feature under the sun more dangerous than cruising on a Fireball? It isn't its the perception of risk that is different its because the sailors are afraid of breaking there expensive toy, they're afraid of fear itself or the unknown, or they don't realise there boat is well within its safe operating limits because they have never actually capsized or pitch polled a boat before and have no clue what the real dangers are.

Telling a guy that he can go ahead with a plan that he probably won't go through with, or if he does go ahead with it will probably be too chicken to ever really sail his boat to his limits, months before he even looks at a boat, a year before he buys one and years before he's able to get it off the dock with any competency isn't likely to get any one killed.

There are two things that are likely to get him killed bad luck or his own stupidity- not me saying on the internet "sure why not give it a try".



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Old 28-07-2015, 15:54   #148
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Re: When we shouldn't encourage people to "just go"

Hmmmm. Sailing directions from Vancouver to Honolulu used to be: Go down to Victoria, turn right; go out to Swiftsure, turn left; when you get to San Francisco turn right.

What's wrong with that ;-0)?

In a bathtub like "the Salish Sea", it's really, really hard to get lost, and the big thing is to remember to tack when you see the seagulls walking.

But on the big water, given the constantly demonstrated fallibility of electrics, a sextant and the reduction tables would confer a bit of piece of mind I should think. If you bother to learn to use them, of course.

What has struck me throughout this hundred'n'an'arf messages is that no-one has reiterated the distinction between boat-handling and seamanship. Boat handling you can learn in a coupla week-ends of concentrated effort. Not so seamanship. Cos seamanship is a particular mind-set that contains and moulds all the experiential learning and the book-larnin'


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Old 28-07-2015, 16:09   #149
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Re: When we shouldn't encourage people to "just go"

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Of course. And they should stay in port because they realise what you did was inherently unsafe. That's why so many died before GPS and so few die nowadays.

That your survived was more good luck than other when you look seriously at it. Do you really think you could make a safer ocean crossing without weather information?
MarkJ, sorry for any confusion -- I did not cross an ocean in the 80's, I only learned my sailing and navigating back then.

Good luck is very important to any venture -- including sailing. We all need it.

I am the navigator and weather router aboard, my husband leaves that part alone--and yes, I do use grib files and note that what we actually encounter is not necessarily what the expected wx is even so. Sometimes quite the opposite but then again, weather is often quite local. As an aside, if one doesn't like what someone else says, it's not nice to put words in their mouth to create a statement that didn't originally exist e.g. "make a safer ocean crossing w/o weather information" is not close to what I said. Please don't re-characterize my words or the words of others that way. It's not conducive to a positive conversation at all. I think that you and I may both agree that enabling technologies make safer ocean passages for any given sailor. If sailor A crosses the ocean with all the tech aboard including comfort enabling accessories, s/he will likely be safer that s/he would have been without them.

If no weather info were available to me other than what I can gather pre-trip, if it made sense (right season for the particular trip, etc) I'd still make my planned passage with barometer aboard and an eye to local conditions. Yes. I haven't had to do that. No. But I would, yes.

You may well know that it is not uncommon for cruisers to start out with all the right equipment and then have to deal with unexpected equipment failures -- it does work out just fine if they're well prepared with the underlying knowledge to make do w/o the nice technology. I think that many people today presume that we MUST have a host of technologies in order to make our passage whereas in the past, when such was not available, people just did it. Even today people just do it. If a newbie comes along and says "what do I need to go cruising" it comes down to some "lots of tech like x,y,z, that all these other mainstream cruisers find useful" and lots of GOOD LUCK to keep all those things working -- or you might give them a list of your own favorite "know how to do" items that they can learn/experience to displace the need for some of that technology. Oh, and yes, indeed! they still need good luck--just not as much as a clueless person relying only on technology would need.

Fair winds,
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Old 28-07-2015, 16:28   #150
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Re: When we shouldn't encourage people to "just go"

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Why is everyone so bent out of shape?

If they get a catamaran, they're going to be motoring all the time anyway?
We went around Point Conception on one of our trips South to North against prevailing winds. It was early evening, sun setting and winds dropping. We, along with a really big catamaran, were approaching from the Santa Barbara Channel in parallel. The cat was motoring straight into the NW wind, bash, bash, bash into the waves. We were motor-sailing, pointing pretty high but enjoying a nice steadiness that comes from the wind heeling the boat a bit and damping the wave action.

With the tack we were slowly gaining distance offshore to the west for about two hours or so and decided to tack back towards shore as we expected the winds to die and wanted to be fairly close to shore when that happened. During the tack, the cat came up on the VHF radio yelling "what's wrong? what's wrong?" I didn't even know he could still see us, but musta had his binos pointed right at us so I answered "we tacked, nothing wrong" and he went on "How big were the waves? did you turn because they were big? what do you see out there? big waves? are the waves even bigger?" and I just said "we just tacked, you know sailing? tacking?" and he said "oh."
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